Monday, November 28, 2016


It all started when I read THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH by Robert Hicks, a novel about a woman who made the dead soldiers of the War Between the States her life's work. By the time I finished reading that book, I knew I had to go visit this place, Carnton, where she had lived and devoted her life to the dead.

Carnton is the name of the plantation just outside of Franklin, TN, where Carrie Winder McGavock and her husband John made their home with their two children, Hattie and Winder. There is so much history that comes before the fateful Battle of Franklin that changed Carrie’s life forever that there is no room to include it in this post.

So I will start with a brief nutshell of the circumstances. At the time of the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864, Carrie’s children were nine (Hattie) and seven (Winder). Carrie herself was thirty-five, her husband, John McGavock, fourteen years her senior at forty-nine. They had been married several years, Carrie coming from Louisiana to marry John, who was quite a wealthy man for the times, worth over six million dollars in our present day currency. He owned the flourishing plantation where he and his brother James had been raised, Carnton, in middle Tennessee. The McGavocks raised wheat, hay, corn and potatoes as well as maintaining a thoroughbred horse ranch.
Carnton, (Scottish for “the place of stones”) was less than one mile from the battle that took place on the far Union Eastern flank. Most of the battle took place after dark, from 5-9 p.m., so the McGavocks could see the firefight that went on over the town of Franklin that evening. Because their plantation was so close, it became a field hospital for the Confederate troops.

This, according to the Wickipedia account:
More than 1,750 Confederates lost their lives at Franklin. It was on Carnton's back porch that four Confederate generals’ bodies—Patrick Cleburne, John Adams, Otho F. Strahl and Hiram B. Granbury—were laid out for a few hours after the Battle of Franklin.

More than 6,000 soldiers were wounded and another 1,000 were missing. After the battle, many Franklin-area homes were converted into temporary field hospitals, but Carnton by far was the largest hospital site. Hundreds of Confederate wounded and dying were tended by Carrie McGavock and the family after the battle. Some estimates say that as many as 300 Confederate soldiers were cared for by the McGavocks inside Carnton alone. Hundreds more were moved to the slave quarters, the outbuildings, even the smokehouse—and when the buildings were full, the wounded had to lie outside during the frigid nights, when the temperature reached below zero.

After the battle, at 1 a.m. on December 1, Union forces under Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield evacuated toward Nashville, leaving all the dead, including (several hundred) Union soldiers, and the wounded who were unable to walk as well. So when morning came, the 750 or so residents of Franklin faced an unimaginable scene of what to do with over 2,500 dead soldiers, most of those being 1,750 Confederates.

According to George Cowan's "History of McGavock Confederate Cemetery," "All of the Confederate dead were buried as nearly as possible by states, close to where they fell, and wooden headboards were placed at each grave with the name, company and regiment painted or written on them." Many of the soldiers were originally buried on property belonging to Fountain Branch Carter and James McNutt. Many of the Union soldiers were re-interred in 1865 at the Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro.

Over the next eighteen months (from all of 1865 through the first half of 1866) many of the markers were either rotting or used for firewood, and the writing on the boards was disappearing. Thus, to preserve the graves, John and Carrie McGavock donated 2 acres of their property to be designated as an area for the Confederate dead to be re-interred. The citizens of Franklin raised the funding and the soldiers were exhumed and re-interred in the McGavock Confederate Cemetery for the sum of $5.00 per soldier.

A team of individuals led by George Cuppett took responsibility for the reburial operation in the spring of 1866. By June, some ten weeks after the start, the last Confederate soldier was laid to rest at McGavock Cemetery. Some 1,481 Rebel soldiers would now be at peace. Soldiers from every Southern state in the Confederacy, except Virginia, is represented in the cemetery.
Sadly, George Cuppett’s brother, Marcellus, died during the process of the reburials. Just 25 years old, he is buried at the head of the Texas section in the McGavock Cemetery. He is the only civilian interred there.

The McGavocks, especially Carrie, took great care to preserve the identity of the Confederate soldiers. The original names and identities of the soldiers were recorded in a cemetery record book by George Cuppett, and the book fell into the watchful hands of Carrie after the battle. The original book is on display upstairs in Carnton. Time has not been favorable to the identities of the Confederate soldiers though. 780 Confederate soldiers’ identities are positively identified, leaving some 558 as officially listed as unknown.

Most of the above was taken from the Wikipedia article about Carnton and the McGavocks. Now you know the FACTS, but let me tell you about my impression of this remarkable woman and the cause she put above all else.

Robert Hicks's book, THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH, is a fictionalized story about Carrie and John McGavock and their lives, but that was what made me want to travel to Franklin and see the house for myself. I put the description that Wikipedia gave near the beginning because I can’t begin to do it justice. It is one of the most gorgeous, meticulously restored homes of that period you will ever see. They do not allow pictures AT ALL as you’re touring inside. Many of the pieces of furniture, glassware and the pictures that are on the walls have been donated by the McGavock extended family and most everything in the house is a genuine period piece, whether it belonged to the family or not.

It is said that Winder’s room was used as an operating room. A table was set up by the east-facing window where the surgeries were performed. Today, there is a table there much like what would have been used, along with the crude medical implements that were available at the time. Our guide told us that when the doctor finished an amputation, he would throw the limb out the window, get the man off the table and make room for the next one. Because the doctor most likely wore a rubberized apron, the blood pooled in a kind of horseshoe shape on the floor where he would have stood. He walked in it and stood in it, grinding it into the wood. It is still there, to this very day—a testament to five of the bloodiest hours in the history of the Civil War.

Once, Hattie was asked about her most enduring childhood memory. “The smell of blood,” she replied.

In the book, there is mention made of Carrie’s friend, Mariah, who had once been her slave but chose to stay with her as they had been together since childhood. Mariah was said to have had the ability to look at some of the graves and tell something about the person who was buried there. She had “the sight.”

For the next forty years, after the Battle of Franklin, Carrie dressed in black, visiting the graves every day. She carried the book of names with her. I have to tell you, when I saw that book of names I got chills thinking of the devotion she had to this cause. Those men were not forgotten.

At one point, the house fell into disrepair, but was bought by a historical preservation society and maintained. The cemetery was the largest privately owned war cemetery in the US. Robert Hicks meticulously researched for the book he wrote, and the profits from the book (which made it to the NYT Bestseller List) helped to re-establish this grand old home as a piece of history where we can go to learn firsthand about what happened on that fateful day.

My husband and I toured the house, a gorgeous old mansion, with a wonderful guide who was glad to answer any and all questions. Tours are around $15, and well worth it. The cemetery tour is $5, or you can just walk around and look for yourself, which is what my husband and I did. If you buy the book, I promise you will be as anxious to see this place for yourself as I was.

Walking those same floors that were walked upon by Carrie and her family, and the wounded men, the generals, the doctors…gave me feeling I will never forget. I could almost swear I felt her presence, still there, still watching over the soldiers she devoted her adult life to at Carnton…the “place of stones.”

You can order the Kindle version of THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH here, and it's also available in print.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

City of Charlotte in Gingerbread

Way back in the 1980’s when I worked in Coronary Care at Mercy Hospital before Carolinas Medical Center bought out the Sisters of Mercy, we used to have an annual contest for the unit that had the best Christmas display. (We were allowed to call it “Christmas”, not winter holiday or some such politically correct name.) The prize was usually free lunch brought to the unit for the nurses on all shifts to enjoy and a huge platter of Christmas cookies.
We decided to do something extraordinary for our display, something grand that would win that prize. I remembered the gingerbread houses my parents used to make. They were not only beautiful, but very yummy, too. They even brought a gingerbread house to my unit a couple times and I loved that they did that. So my coworkers and I decided to make gingerbread houses for our display. But we didn’t just want regular gingerbread houses, we wanted to make downtown Charlotte like a whole city of gingerbread buildings. (Actually, we made the base of the buildings from cardboard to prevent any catastrophic collapse.)

We worked and worked on that city until the entire unite smelled like vanilla icing and candy. While I was looking at some old pictures, I found a picture of our gingerbread city all decorated for Christmas. We won! We all got to share in the sandwiches and cookies and, of course, a mention in the hospital newsletter that made us all rather proud. It was also my way of honoring the memory of my parents who loved making gingerbread houses out of real gingerbread each year for Christmas. It’s one of my best memories of Mom and Pop.  I miss them terribly.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Many parts of the United States are already experiencing snow. No matter how cold you are now, the winter of 1886-87 in Montana and the Midwest was colder. Not only did ranchers lose much of their stock and some ranchers and cowboys lose their lives, this weather changed the cattle industry forever.

In the Wild West, cattle were a staple—cattle drives, cattle towns, cattle herds, cattle ranches. Cattle were king through the 1870s up until the mid-1880s. The fenceless open range meant grazing land was easy to come by, so ranchers could own massive herds of cattle. Through much of the late 1870s and into the 1880s, cooler summers and mild winters meant that feeding the animals was relatively easy. Grass and feed were typically pretty plentiful.

Overstocking the Montana range had been the norm since the early 1880s. Texas and Eastern cattle were shipped or trailed in, joining herds already feeding on the rich grasses of the northern plains. By fall 1883, about 600,000 head of cattle filled the range, sharing the resources with an equal number of sheep and a proportionately smaller number of horses. By this time, the range was at its capacity.

By early 1886 more cattle, which had not yet developed the ability to withstand rugged Montana winters, filled the range, receiving less nourishment from the sparse grass. This resulted in more animals grazing on the same amount of grass, which became thinner, requiring more acres per animal even as more animals per acre arrived. By 1885 Montana's range showed the effect of this vicious circle.

Open Range

Rancher Conrad Kohrs noted, "It takes 20 acres on a new range to feed one cow, after the range has been grazed two years it will take almost 25 acres, and after six years all of 40 acres."

Things were about to get much worse. In 1884, a drought crept upward from Texas across the Great Plains and reaching Montana in 1886. By September, some places in Montana and Wyoming had received only two inches of rainfall. Usually lush grass became sparse. Crops failed. Due to the fertile grass of earlier years, most ranchers did not put aside hay for winter, so many cows that weren’t killed by the cold soon died from starvation.

By 1885, beef prices were falling and much of the open range was overgrazed, mainly because cattle barons had built up herds too large for the land. But the barons—many of them Europeans—who owned huge swaths of land from Canada to Mexico, maintained business as usual.

In his annual report of 1886, the commander of Fort McKinney near Buffalo, Wyoming Territory, wrote, “The country is full of Texas cattle and there is not a blade of grass within 15 miles of the Post.”

By 1886, the cattle business was in trouble. Overgrazing had depleted the grasslands, herds of sheep were competing for what remained, and farmers were beginning to stake off parts of the open range. Beef prices were falling, and during the hot, dry months of summer, the herds grew thin and weak. By November 1886, wholesale cattle prices in Chicago fell to $3.16 per hundredweight, half of what they had been in 1884.

More grass died. Brush fires burned off even more. Water sources dried up. Other signs pointed to a tough winter ahead—geese going south earlier, cattle growing thicker fur, beaver stacking more wood for dens.

Brush Fire's Destruction

Following the summer drought disaster came the worst winter ever recorded. The first snow came on November 13, 1886 and fell continuously for a month. Then, in January 1887, the temperature dropped even farther, and blizzards came howling over the prairie, blasting the unsheltered herds. Some cattle, too weak to stand, were actually blown over. Others died frozen to the ground. Even buffalo died when their breath froze them to the ground where they stood. In some instances, people got lost close to their houses and froze to death very close to their front doors.

“It was all so slow, plunging after them through the deep snow that way..... The horses' feet were cut and bleeding from the heavy crust, and the cattle had the hair and hide wore off their legs to the knees and hocks. It was surely hell to see big four-year-old steers just able to stagger along.” Teddy Blue Abbott

No place was safe—California got nearly four inches of snow in San Francisco. North Texas and the Panhandle were inundated. Blizzards roared across the West in January 1887. Temperatures dropped to 30 below in some places. They hit 43 below the next month. On Jan. 14, 1887, temperatures in Miles City, Mont., bottomed out at 60 below zero.

The Laramie Daily Boomerang of Feb. 10, 1887, reported, "The snow on the Lost Soldier division of the Lander and Rawlins stage route is four feet deep, and frozen so hard that the stages drive over it like a turnpike."

Waiting for a Chinook by Charles Russell

Day after day the snow came down, thawing and then freezing and piling itself higher and higher. By January the drifts had filled the ravines and coulĂ©es almost level,” remembered Theodore Roosevelt, who was ranching in Medora, Dakota Territory at the time.

Warm Chinook winds began the thaw by March 1887. Then the losses of cattle were discovered. A large number of cattle carcasses were spread across the fields and washed down streams and polluted drinking water. Dead cattle littered the countryside and bobbed in the freshening rivers. An estimated hundreds of thousands of cattle carcasses littered the land—many pushed up against wire fences or lining roads. Total losses went unreported, but in some areas, up to 90 percent of the herds were wiped out.

“[I saw] countless carcasses of cattle going down with the ice, rolling over and over as they went, sometimes with all four stiffened legs pointed skyward. For days on end . . . went Death's cattle roundup.” Lincoln Lang

By spring, the magnitude of loss was staggering--60% to 95% in places. The few remaining cattle were in poor health, being emaciated and suffering from frostbite. Small ranches went out of business. Even some huge cattle companies declared bankruptcy.

The Conrad Kohrs herds in the Deer Lodge Valley survived. With a $100,000 loan by Butte banker A.J. Davis, Kohrs was one of the few able to rebuild. But the disaster foreshadowed the end of the open range cattle era.

John Clay wrote in MY LIFE ON THE RANGE, “As the South Sea bubble burst, as the Dutch tulip craze dissolved, this cattle gold brick withstood not the snow of winter. It wasted away under the fierce attacks of a subarctic season aided by summer drought. For years, you could wander amid the dead brushwood that borders our streams. In the struggle for existence the cattle had peeled off the bark as if legions of beavers had been at work.

Those who tried to carve out a ranch by claiming unbranded calves ran smack into the old guard cattle barons. Range conflicts broke out, perhaps most notably the Johnson County War in Wyoming.
That deadly winter had changed cattle country. As The Rocky Mountain Husbandman newspaper in Diamond City, Montana, reported, “…range husbandry is over, is ruined, destroyed, and it may have been by the insatiable greed of its followers.”

Ranchers stopped keeping such gigantic stocks of cattle and began larger farming operations in order to grow food for the animals they had. Most also quit the open range, where livestock could roam far from grain reserves, in favor of smaller, fenced in grazing territories. The winter of 1886-1887 signaled the beginning of the end to the days of roving cowboys and the untamed western wilderness.

Foreigners felt leery about investing out West. Cowboys became more of an iconic symbol than a constant presence. Cattle were no longer king. Thousands of cowboys were out of jobs. Some drifted back East or looked for work in Western towns. Others (like members of the Wild Bunch) turned to less honorable pursuits that included rustling and outlawry.

Then future President Teddy Roosevelt wrote his friend, Henry Cabot Lodge, “Well, we have had a perfect smashup all through the cattle country of the northwest. The losses are crippling. For the first time I have been utterly unable to enjoy a visit to my ranch. I shall be glad to get home.”

Historians generally agree that Wyoming cattle losses during that winter tend to be exaggerated. Larson thought overall the state lost about 15 percent of its herd, although operators in Crook and Carbon counties lost roughly 25 percent of their stock. The Wyoming cattle business never again achieved the stature it had from 1868 to 1886. Historians debate over when the Old West died. The Great Die-Up may not have been the end, but the disaster certainly played a role in finishing the era.

Winter of 1886–1887 was extremely harsh for much of continental North America, especially the United States. Although it affected other regions in the country, it is most known for its effects on the Western United States and its cattle industry. This winter marked the end of the open range era and led to the entire reorganization of ranching. Cattlemen reportedly called the winter of 1886-87 the "Great Die-Up." That winter proved again that nature could at any moment shatter all sense of human control.

Caroline Clemmons writes contemporary and historical western romance. Her latest release is her contribution to the bestselling WILD WESTERN WOMEN MISTLETOE, MONTANA. On November 29th, she will release ANGEL FOR CHRISTMAS. All her books are at her Amazon Author Page. Join her newsletter subscriber list for a FREE novella here.

Elizabeth Ayers for Montana Sky Kindle World authors.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

History of Thanksgiving

My to-do list was long this morning (Thanksgiving Eve), and became longer when I looked out the window at the snow that had piled up overnight. While my husband fired up the snow-plow truck, our granddog, Bear, and I started shoveling the front patio. The snow was so thick and heavy, and snowman perfect, that I decided rolling it into large balls for a snowman would be easier than shoveling. So that is what I did, with Bear at my side the entire time. (Bear is a 115 lb yellow lab. He gets dropped off at our house every morning around 7:00 and is picked up every evening around 6:30. We love having him around as much as he loves being here.) We still had plenty of shoveling to do after assembling the balls, and after that, we added the finishing touches to our snowman. It wasn't until I put the gourds in for the snowman's eyes that Bear truly took notice of the creature.

The rest of the day has been full of prep work for tomorrow, and I'm glad I took the time to make the snowman this morning. The grandchildren are going to be surprised to see him standing in the yard when they arrive tomorrow.
AND because I still have a few things to accomplish, I'm recycling a blog I'd posted about the history of Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.

As many of us were taught, the first Thanksgiving took place in the fall 1621. It was a three day feast of thanks hosted by the Pilgrims and a local tribe of Wampanoag. Intermittent days of thanks continued for the next hundred and fifty years, often celebrating an event, good harvest, or end of a time period, such as a drought or battle. In 1777, George Washington declared the last Thursday in November as a ‘national day of public thanksgiving and prayer’ which all thirteen colonies celebrated, particularly giving thanks for the new constitution of the newly formed nation. The next national day was declared in 1789, by then President George Washington. However, it still didn’t become a ‘yearly’ celebration, until 1863.

For over 40 years, Sara Josepha Hale, the author of Mary had a Little Lamb, advocated for an annual day of Thanksgiving, and during the Civil War while looking for a way to bring the nation together, President Abraham Lincoln consulted with Ms. Hale prior to issuing the Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday of November (based on Washington’s date) as a national holiday. 

75 years later, in 1939 retailers begged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to change Thanksgiving to the second to the last Thursday of the month, therefore giving people more shopping days before Christmas. He did so, but the confusion didn’t settle well with the county. Calendars were off, schools vacations had to be rescheduled, and yes, even football games reorganized. Many believed the reason of the date change was not a fitting cause and controversy split the nation. 23 states agreed to change the date, and 23 states refused. Colorado and Texas chose to celebrate both days. Even though businesses reported no real direct change in shopping, the two Thanksgivings (with states choosing which to observe) continued until 1941 when congress passed a law declaring Thanksgiving as a national holiday that would occur on the fourth Thursday of November every year. 

So, there you have it.

History and controversy aside, for me, Thanksgiving brings family to mind. If I live to be a hundred, nothing will ever replace the sweetness of the word “Grandma!” I am thankful for so much, every day of my life—for living in a wonderful country, for freedom, for my right to worship God, for all the obvious and not to be taken lightly things which include my family, home, community, friends, vocation, my publishers and their belief in me, and especially the people who read and find delight in my books. 

Thanks for sharing this wonderful life with me.

My Thanksgiving wish is that each of you reading this blog has a blessed and beautiful holiday. 

Lauri Robinson

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Amazing Story of Survival

By: Peggy L Henderson

In 1870, an expedition set out into Yellowstone to document the wonders of the area that so many fur trappers had talked about, but not many people wanted to believe. It was called the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition, which consisted of nineteen men and forty horses.

One unlikely man who joined this strenuous expedition into the wild, uncharted territory of Yellowstone was a 54-year-old former assessor for the territory of Montana by the name of Truman Everts.  For him, it was the chance of a lifetime to explore where not many men had gone before.

By September, the expedition reached Yellowstone Lake and were getting ready to head back to Helena. Often during the expedition, the party would split up as various groups went to explore different areas. It wasn’t uncommon for members of the party to separate from the main group for a day or two, but they always met up again.
 One day, while the main party made their way through thick timber between Heart Lake and Yellowstone Lake, Everts became separated from the group. This didn’t cause much alarm for anyone, since it often happened. Even Everts wasn’t worried about it. He made camp and figured he’d meet up with the party again the following morning.

The next day, he set off in the direction the party had been traveling, certain that he’d meet up with them for breakfast. He became disoriented, however, in the forest. He also made one serious mistake – he got off his horse and didn’t tie the animal properly while he tried to find a way through a particularly dense area. The horse ran off, carrying all his gear and supplies - blankets, guns, everything. He had only the clothes on his back, a couple of knives and a small opera glass.

This was only the beginning of a series of unfortunate events for Truman Everts in one of the most amazing survival stories ever. He became completely disoriented at this point. Rather than heading toward Yellowstone Lake where he might have met up with his party, he went further south, where he encountered snow and rain.  Due to the bad weather, he camped in a thermal area to keep warm, He managed to catch a small bird to eat, but nothing else, and after being lost for eleven days, he was able to finally make fire using his opera glass.
He lost his two knives that he’d carried, but once again was able to improvise using a belt buckle and fishhook out of a pin. He lost these items when he accidentally started a small forest fire and severely burned himself.  
Everts’ party had waited for him for several days and sent out a search team, but as the days passed and the weather got worse, they had to start heading back to civilization. They left food for Everts in various locations, but Truman never found them.

For 37 days, Everts stayed alive eating nothing but the roots of elk thistle, which is today known as Everts Thistle. He walked, crawled and struggled his way around Yellowstone Lake and down the Yellowstone River.
In mid-October, he was finally found by two men – Jack Barronnett and George Pritchett, who were offered $600 to go out and search for him by Everts’ former companions to find and bring back his body for proper burial. Noone expected to find him alive. Barronett almost shot him, thinking he was a bear crawling among the rocks.  Everts was delirious, covered in burns and frostbite, and weighed in at around 55 pounds.

One man stayed with Everts to nurse him back to some strength, while the other made a 75-mile trip back to Helena, Montana, to get help.  When it was time to collect their reward, Everts refused to pay his rescuers, saying he could have made it out alive by himself, and said they had been offered the money for a body, not a live man.

Everts gained a lot of publicity for his harrowing tale and was even honored by being offered a job: first superintendent of the new Yellowstone Park in 1872. He turned the job down, because there was no salary for the job. A year after his ordeal, he published an account of his survival journey titled “Thirty-Seven Days of Peril”. He lived until 1901, dying in Maryland at the age of 85, apparently none the worse for wear from being lost in the first national park.

Peggy L Henderson
Western Historical and Time Travel Romance
“Where Adventure Awaits and Love is Timeless”

Award-Winning and Best-Selling Author of:
Yellowstone Romance Series
Teton Romance Trilogy
Second Chances Time Travel Romance Series
Blemished Brides Western Historical Romance Series
Wilderness Brides Historical Romance Series

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Turkey Trot Reprise

Friends, I hope you will forgive me for reprising my post from two years ago about the Cuero, Texas Turkey Trot. I’m dealing with an abscessed tooth, living on strong pain killers and feeling pretty loopy. Lacking energy and the ability to concentrate, I decided to repost this story of the famous turkey trot – with an update about the Dallas version.

When our kids were young, my husband and I once took them to a drive-thru wildlife preserve here in Texas. Among the animals we saw that day was a flock of wild turkeys. They were roaming free and showed no sign of fear as we stopped to snap pictures. Those birds were impressive, a lot bigger than I expected and a little bit scary. I mean I wouldn’t care to meet one on foot, especially a large male with his tail spread out like a huge fan.

Now imagine watching thousands of these birds trotting along the main street of a small town in Texas in the early 1900s. That’s exactly what happened in Cuero, TX, beginning around 1908, when a processing plant opened on the outskirts of the town. Turkey raising became a major industry in the area. Buyers bought flocks of birds from outlying farms and herded them through town to the plant.

J. C. Howerton, publisher of the Cuero Record, is credited with suggesting a Turkey Trot. The local chamber of commerce took up the idea in order to advertise South Texas turkeys and encourage turkey raising. The Cuero Fair and Turkey Trot Association was formed, and the first official Turkey Trot took place in 1912, at the opening of the fall marketing season.

Famous Cuero Turkey Trot, 1912; Public domain

Named for the popular "turkey trot" dance of the period, the event was a hit, attended even by Texas governor Oscar Colquitt and other dignitaries. They were entertained by a parade of “floats festooned with turkey feathers” as well as 18,000 or more turkeys strutting down Main Street. Cuero merchants reaped benefits by providing visitors with refreshments and lodging.

For a hilarious look at Cuero's 100th Anniversary Turkey Trot, take a gander at this video:

The following year, a Turkish theme was introduced for the Turkey Trot. Sultan Yekrut (turkey spelled backwards) and Sultana Oreuc (Cuero reversed) reigned over the festivities. Over time, the pageantry became more elaborate. The Sultan and Sultana acquired an entire royal court with attendants in Turkish costumes. Cuero became, for a short time each autumn, an exotic oasis amid the mesquite trees and sagebrush.

Apparently, the event was not held every year. The thirteenth Turkey Trot took place in 1967, with some 3,000 turkeys parading through Cuero. Unfortunately, many of the broad-breasted feedlot turkeys collapsed, and thereafter the Trot was replaced by a seven-county South Texas Livestock Show. However, as part of Cuero's centennial in 1972, the Turkey Trot was revived, using hardy range-raised turkeys in the parade.
Check out this site for more details and a video about history of the Turkey Trot:

Today, Cuero holds "Turkeyfest," featuring a parade, arts and crafts show, food booths, a Miss Turkeyfest beauty pageant, and the "Great Gobbler Gallop," an annual race between prize turkeys from Worthington, Minnesota, and Cuero, Texas. This competition began after a newspaper editor from Worthington claimed his town was the world's turkey capital, not Cuero. Contestants’ names are always Ruby Begonia for the Texas turkey and Paycheck for the Minnesota bird. They vie for the title of World's Fastest Turkey, racing in two heats, one in each city over a two-year period. Turkeyfest is held each October at Cuero.

"Will Ruby retain the Traveling Turkey Trophy of Tumultuous Triumph? Will Paycheck be pacified with the Circulating Consolation Cup of Consummate Commiseration? All bets are off when the birds hit the street, because in a turkey race, anything can happen!"

Cuero (pronounced Quair-oh) is located in DeWitt County, Texas. The population was 6,841 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of DeWitt County and is unofficially known as the "turkey capital of the world." Cuero High School teams are called the Gobblers. In 2010, Cuero was named one of the 'Coolest Small Towns in America,' by Budget Travel Magazine. ~ Wikipedia

Three Fast Turkey Facts from TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE

  1. If Wild Turkeys could smell, they'd be nearly impossible to hunt. The eyes and ears of a turkey make it one of the toughest of all Texas game animals. Their vision is the keenest among all Texas game animals. They are especially astute at pinpointing movement and can hone in on noises from a mile away.
  2. Wild Turkey Revival! A hundred years ago, turkeys almost disappeared from Texas due to unregulated hunting and loss of habitat. Now, thanks to hunter and landowner support, bag limits and a restocking program, they are making a steady comeback.
  3. Where the Wild Turkeys are. Turkeys now inhabit 223 of the 254 counties in Texas. You can see them roam at many Texas State Parks. One of the most substantial and oldest winter turkey roosts is at South Llano River State Park near Junction.

49th Annual Turkey Trot in Dallas

The Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot is an annual footrace over an 8-mile course through the city of Dallas, Texas. The race includes both runners and wheelchair racers.

The original Turkey Trot began in the 1940s and was run at the fair grounds in Dallas. The annual 8-mile (13 km) run began in 1968, with 107 runners instructed to run along the shore of White Rock Lake "to the big oak tree and back."

The race quickly grew popular. In 1979, The Trot was moved to downtown Dallas to accommodate more runners and to showcase "Big D". A 3-mile (4.8 km) Fun Run was added in 1984 to encourage the participation of children and families. The distance was changed to 5K in 2009 and the race was certified.

This year's Trot will take place on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, at 9:00am.

The YMCA Turkey Trot is a tradition that draws people from all over the country each year. Even if you're not a runner or walker, there are fun activities for the whole family to enjoy!
For complete details visit

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